I remember almost 3 years ago now, I did the CrossFit benchmark WOD Grace (30 clean and Jerks for time), and crushed it… at least for me. The next day however Grace had the last laugh, I was walking like I was 90. Every time I got out of a chair, the bed, or car I was hunched over for 5 minutes. It was horrible. As a PT it is the worst getting hurt because you know you can fix yourself, but where do you start? Do you look at WebMD and ultimately conclude, it is either a spinal tumor or a disc herniation (neither of which are usually correct for this type of pain). Hopefully this is not your route since you’re reading this.

There are typically 2 reasons for this type of pain. First, is that the muscles got over worked and have shut down as a protective mechanism to let the body heal. This typically occurs with/after lifting objects from the floor. Second, is that the little joints in the back got jammed and now are inflamed. The second scenario is most common when arching back or lifting overhead which causes overarching through the low back jamming the little joints. This scenario is similar to jamming your finger, it hurts to start moving it but as you keep it moving it sucks less and less every day to keep it moving.

The good and bad about these 2 scenarios is that the treatment will be similar. When muscles tighten up they will compress the joints. When the joints have an inflammatory reaction the surrounding musculature will tightness up. For both we need to loosen up the muscles and the joints followed up by exercises to stabilize and get blood flow to the area. Here are my favorite 5 exercises that need to happen to get your back up and running.

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. start with 2-3 minutes.
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. start with 2-3 minutes.
This one is not comfortable but can give you great results especially if you have a desk job.
Less is more with this one. If you go too high or too fast you will bypass the small muscles you want to target.
Start small and work your way down based off comfort. If you go too hard it can overload the back muscles.

Consistency is key, there is a physiologic healing time with these types of injuries it will not get better in a day. Be patient and consistent with the exercises, trust the process it can take weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Scott